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4 helpful websites for freelance writers June 1, 2012

Can you write? Do you need some extra cash this summer? Depending on your level of desperation (hey, we’ve all been there), consider putting your mad writing skills to work with one of the following sites:

1. Guru.com. Desperation level: Low. Whether you are an experienced freelance writer or are just starting out, Guru makes it easy to search for freelance work online. Anyone can search for projects, but you can only bid on them as a registered user. While it’s free to register, Guru takes a cut from the total project’s cost. Even though the top two project types are IT-related, the “Writing, Editing & Translation” category ranks third, with more  than 500 gigs to bid on. What are you waiting for?

2. Zaarly.com. Desperation level: Low. It’s free to both post and respond to freelance job offers using Zaarly, and it’s easy to sign up through Facebook. The biggest downside, however, is that there aren’t a whole lot of gigs available in Chicago. At the time of this writing, I found only one offer for writing services–$15 to rework one paragraph of web text. (Sign me up!). But until there are more users in Chicago-land, you might want to look elsewhere.

3. TaskRabbit.com. Desperation level: Medium. While it’s free to become a TaskRabbit (yes, that’s the moniker you’ll assume on this site), you have to apply, interview, and undergo an extensive background check in order to get started. Basically, how this works is that folks can outsource tasks they don’t want to do themselves in a competitive bidding process. You and other TaskRabbits bid on these projects, and the lowest bidder wins. Be sure to check out the jobs that fall under the categories Office Help and Virtual Assistance, where you’ll be more likely to put your writing skills to use.

4. Fiverr.com. Desperation level: High. What are you willing to do for $5?  While chugging a bottle of hot sauce in a $5 bet with friends is quicker than, say, transcribing a five minute audio clip, it’s definitely more painful. Actually, you’ll only get $4 after Fiverr.com takes its cut, but if you’re creative, or happen to talk like Patrick Stewart, you can make some quick cash without too much effort. Of course, there are the more pedestrian writing and editing gigs being offered, but it looks like the most popular jobs fall under the Fun & Bizarre category!

Whether or not you actually use one of these sites or different ones, one of the best things you can do to begin freelancing is buy a domain name and set up a simple website for yourself. You can still ply your trade using other sites, of course, but with your own site you can customize it with samples of your work, your resume, etc. If you’re a member of the DePaul community, you can always use Digication, but you won’t be able to have your own domain name. In any case, with a site of your own, you’d be able to market yourself in any way you see fit.

Have I missed other, possibly much better sites for freelance writers to ply their trade? If so, please leave a comment below!